Brewing up a cold one

"Give home-brewing a go — it's fun"

"Give home-brewing a go — it's fun"

PURE GOLD: Amateur brewer David Andrew drinks his homemade Dry Irish Stout, which won him a gold at the New Zealand amateur winemakers and brewers competition last year. Making your own is increasing in popularity in Gisborne. Picture by Paul Rickard.
Gisborne Home Brewers Guild members Jason McInteer, Ally Dykes, Kieran Fenn and Cam Treweek enjoying some of Jason’s home brew on the deck. Absent members are Aaron Drake, James Bettridge and Garth Cranfield. Picture by Liam Clayton
Mike and Judy Zame are active members of the Gisborne Amateur Winemakers and Brewers Club. Picture by Liam Clayton

Aaah beer! The hot summer months are here when a crisp cold one really hits the spot. Boutique beers are everywhere at the shops, often with a confused wall of people starring at the chiller — which one? Others confidently walk right up to a box of their old favourites — then there are those who make their own. Sophie Rishworth talks to a few who do . . .

The year was 1977, “Boogie Nights” by Heatwave held the number 1 spot in the charts and David Andrew started making his own beer. There is no connection — that’s just to emphasise how long ago this was.

“My sister sent me a kit from Denmark in 1977 when she was doing her OE, and there weren’t any kit beers in New Zealand at the time,” says David.

Back in those days, there was only one type of hops and a couple of yeasts. David ordered his yeast, made in England, from West Australia.

Beer has been brewed for centuries, often in the back of your grandad’s shed. But there has been a recent resurgence in people making their own, coupled with an increase of craft beers on the market.

The top two reasons most home-brewers give for making their own beer is that it is cheaper, and you can make it to your own taste.

The increase of amateur home brewers was illustrated at last year’s awards. Judges had to choose from more than 500 wines, almost 400 beers and a whole range of liqueurs.

Ally Dykes owns one of Gisborne’s two home brew shops. His customers come from a range of occupations . . . bulldozer drivers, doctors, builders, vets, tradies and lawyers all come in for their home brew supplies. He definitely feels it is increasing in popularity.

“People want to know what’s going in their food and beer, and home brew has no preservatives.”

The methods have stayed largely the same but the availability of ingredients has increased. Today you can even make your own low-carb and gluten-free beer. David’s biggest piece of advice is hygiene, to limit bacteria contamination, but close behind that is “give it a go — it’s fun”.

David extends his brews to include liqueurs and wines as well. In winter he enjoys a dark heavy stout but for summer it’s a light pilsner.

He is the longest-serving member of the Gisborne Amateur Winemakers and Brewers Club. He brought home 12 certificates from the New Zealand Amateur Winemakers and Brewers Federation Biennial Competition last year.

Gisborne Home Brewers Guild

Jason McInteer is part of hard core group of six guys who have quarterly meetings about their home brew club called the Gisborne Home Brewers Guild.

It’s pretty competitive and they give each other a decent amount of ribbing about each other’s efforts.

“As far as official business is concerned,” says Jason with a straight face, “we meet about four times a year. And about twice a year we have a friendly competition.”

The “friendly” competition includes shields up between them so they can’t see each other’s scores, and judging is strict. Each member blind-tastes with points awarded for taste, clarity and drinkabilty.

The group was started a couple of years ago by Jason, Cam Treweek and another friend. Half of the guys have known each other since school days in Auckland.

They see it as a lot of fun and a chance to “settle the score”, says Cam. “It was always whose beer was better.”

Patience is the key to creating a great beer, they say. Often you are brewing three to four months ahead of when it is going to be drunk, “if you can hold out”.

Cam says the process is “real easy”. A typical kit from one of the two home brew stores in town will make you 23 litres of beer, or about two-and-a-half crates.

Aaah beer! The hot summer months are here when a crisp cold one really hits the spot. Boutique beers are everywhere at the shops, often with a confused wall of people starring at the chiller — which one? Others confidently walk right up to a box of their old favourites — then there are those who make their own. Sophie Rishworth talks to a few who do . . .

The year was 1977, “Boogie Nights” by Heatwave held the number 1 spot in the charts and David Andrew started making his own beer. There is no connection — that’s just to emphasise how long ago this was.

“My sister sent me a kit from Denmark in 1977 when she was doing her OE, and there weren’t any kit beers in New Zealand at the time,” says David.

Back in those days, there was only one type of hops and a couple of yeasts. David ordered his yeast, made in England, from West Australia.

Beer has been brewed for centuries, often in the back of your grandad’s shed. But there has been a recent resurgence in people making their own, coupled with an increase of craft beers on the market.

The top two reasons most home-brewers give for making their own beer is that it is cheaper, and you can make it to your own taste.

The increase of amateur home brewers was illustrated at last year’s awards. Judges had to choose from more than 500 wines, almost 400 beers and a whole range of liqueurs.

Ally Dykes owns one of Gisborne’s two home brew shops. His customers come from a range of occupations . . . bulldozer drivers, doctors, builders, vets, tradies and lawyers all come in for their home brew supplies. He definitely feels it is increasing in popularity.

“People want to know what’s going in their food and beer, and home brew has no preservatives.”

The methods have stayed largely the same but the availability of ingredients has increased. Today you can even make your own low-carb and gluten-free beer. David’s biggest piece of advice is hygiene, to limit bacteria contamination, but close behind that is “give it a go — it’s fun”.

David extends his brews to include liqueurs and wines as well. In winter he enjoys a dark heavy stout but for summer it’s a light pilsner.

He is the longest-serving member of the Gisborne Amateur Winemakers and Brewers Club. He brought home 12 certificates from the New Zealand Amateur Winemakers and Brewers Federation Biennial Competition last year.

Gisborne Home Brewers Guild

Jason McInteer is part of hard core group of six guys who have quarterly meetings about their home brew club called the Gisborne Home Brewers Guild.

It’s pretty competitive and they give each other a decent amount of ribbing about each other’s efforts.

“As far as official business is concerned,” says Jason with a straight face, “we meet about four times a year. And about twice a year we have a friendly competition.”

The “friendly” competition includes shields up between them so they can’t see each other’s scores, and judging is strict. Each member blind-tastes with points awarded for taste, clarity and drinkabilty.

The group was started a couple of years ago by Jason, Cam Treweek and another friend. Half of the guys have known each other since school days in Auckland.

They see it as a lot of fun and a chance to “settle the score”, says Cam. “It was always whose beer was better.”

Patience is the key to creating a great beer, they say. Often you are brewing three to four months ahead of when it is going to be drunk, “if you can hold out”.

Cam says the process is “real easy”. A typical kit from one of the two home brew stores in town will make you 23 litres of beer, or about two-and-a-half crates.

Mike and Judy Zame

Last year Gisborne man Mike Zame and his wife Judy brought home eight certificates between them after the New Zealand Amateur Winemakers and Brewers Federation Biennial Competition.

They’ve been making their own liqueurs and beers for 30-odd years.

“One of our friends told us about it. We went along to a meeting, got interested and they showed us what to do. For me making liqueurs is like making a cake, you just follow the instructions,” says Judy.

There is always a bit of friendly competition between the two of them as their liqueurs compete side by side. But they are also the first person they go to when an educated taste test is required.

As members of the Gisborne Amateur Winemakers and Brewers Club, they meet once a month, host internal competitions and compete regionally every year and nationally every two years.

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